National / Crime & Legal

Bomb threats force evacuations and snarl transport in Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Shiga

JIJI

Several companies the Kansai region received bomb threats Sunday amid tight security for a high-profile visit by U.S. President Donald Trump, who arrived in Tokyo the same day.

Just after 11 a.m., Keihan Electric Railway Co. got a telephone call warning that there would be an explosion at Sanjo Station in Kyoto in an hour.

At the request of the Kyoto Prefectural Police, the company shut the station for about an hour at around 11:30 a.m. and evacuated it. No trains stopped there during the stoppage.

About 8,000 people were affected because Sanjo Station is close to sightseeing spots including Heian Jingu, a major shrine. The person who called in the bomb threat is believed to male and did not make any requests.

Elsewhere in the prefecture, similar bomb threats hampered operations two stations run by West Japan Railway Co. (JR West): Ayabe Station in Ayabe and Nishi-Maizuru Station in the city of Maizuru. No explosives were found at either station.

In Osaka, a Matsuzakaya department store in the city of Takatsuki received a phone call around noon saying a bomb had been planted in the outlet, which was then evacuated. The Osaka Prefectural Police searched the store but found nothing suspicious, and the outlet reopened around 1:35 p.m.

In Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JR West Miyajima Ferry Co. received a phone call at around 8:45 a.m. claiming a bomb on a ship would explode in an hour.

The company suspended the ferries to and from Miyajima Island, home to Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage site, for about 90 minutes, canceling a total of 35 ferry runs, including those of another company. The precautions affected some 6,000 people but no suspicious object was found.

In Shiga Prefecture, a operator of sightseeing boats received a phone call just after noon apparently from a man who said an explosive had been planted on its ship, the Michigan, which cruises Lake Biwa.

Some 290 passengers were evacuated and the ship was searched but no suspicious object was found.